Many thanks to Leanne for letting me visit again and share a color theory tutorial with you all! I love pretty much everything to do with color, and I always enjoy the opportunities I get to talk about it.
Today I wanted to talk about contrast--in particular how it relates to color and how to design with contrast in mind.
Introduction to ContrastFirst, a quick definition. Contrast is the measure of how different two (or more) things are. High contrast means that things are very different (black and white have high contrast), while low contrast means things are quite similar (cream and white have low contrast). It's important to keep in mind that contrast is somewhat subjective, and it does depends on the context of everything else that's around it. I'll show you some examples of that later.
east_mountain on Flickr. Image used under creative commons license.)
Moondigger on Wikimedia. Image used under creative commons license.) The painter Bev Doolittle is a master at using this to great effect in her work. Here is a link to one of her earliest camouflage works, with pinto horses hidden among rocks.
Dennis Jarvis. Used under creative commons license.)
Designing with ContrastNow that we know what contrast does, let's talk about two ways to use it in design: defining shapes, and creating "pops" of interest or areas that draw our eye.
In both of these examples, I used "scrappy" color to show that you can do this effect without using matching colors. There just needs to be lower contrast between the interior elements within the shape than between the edge of the shape and the background.
That's how we define shapes, but now let's talk about creating "pops" of interest. Since our eye is naturally drawn to the area of highest contrast (the area that is most different) using a small amount of something that is higher contrast will draw attention there.
Creating ContrastSo now we know what it is and what to do with it, but how the heck do we do it? Contrast is a bit subjective (we all see color differently) but with some color theory we can at least find a place to start.
Colors are made up of different components. There are many different ways of ordering these components but the way that makes the most sense to me is the HSB or Hue, Saturation, Brightness (also sometimes referred to as Value) system.
SummaryHere's a quick summary to recap what we've gone over, because there was a lot!
- Contrast is a measure of how different two things are.
- Contrast helps us define shapes and areas of interest in our quilt designs.
- Colors are made up of hue, saturation, and brightness (also called value.)
- Hue is the base color (the rainbow is made up of all hues.)
- Saturation is how colorful the color is (high saturation is rainbow color, low saturation goes towards greyscale.)
- Brightness or value is how bright the color is (high brightness is rainbow bright, low brightness goes towards black.)
- We can create contrast by contrasting hues, saturation, brightness or any combination of the three.
Thank you Anne! If you have not yet linked up your Q4 FAL finishes, please click here to go to the linky to add one link for each of your qualifying finishes. If you are working on one last finish, you can link up your other finishes now, so you don't miss the deadline for linking - midnight M.S.T. January 8, 2014.